5 reasons to get excited for Alverno Presents’ 2011-12 season
In a city bursting with hundreds of shows, festivals, and semi-nude bike races each year, it takes something truly special to stand out from the crowd. Alverno College’s performing arts series, Alverno Presents, takes that maxim to heart, and has once again put together a series of unique events far removed for your typical scuzzy rock shows or warmed-over trivia nights. Before an intriguing performance from The Hinterlands this Friday and Saturday, we look at a few of the strange and wonderful events Alverno Presents has in store for 2011 and 2012.
The Hinterlands: Manifest Destiny! (There Was Blood On The Saddle)
(Aug. 19-20, Pitman Theater)
What is it? Detroit-based performance art troupe The Hinterlands is best known for its boundary-pushing events that defy categorization. (The Hinterlands’ 2010 Isaac Newton Is Our DJ was a dance party and a science experiment.) True to form, the group is billing Manifest Destiny! as a “psychedelic Wild West show.” It’s safe to assume that it will be a whole lot more Dead Man than The Outlaw Josey Wales.
Why you should check it out: The Hinterlands handily avoid all of the icky/lame connotations that typically plague quirky performance ensembles. Plus, it isn’t every day that a local theater is transformed into a trippy, blissed-out version of the Old West.
(Sept. 17-19, Humboldt Park)
What is it? For years, Alverno’s Global Union has kicked the tires of world music by bringing in some of the most dynamic musical acts from around the globe and dropping them in picturesque Humboldt Park. This year will be no different. Expect a diverse and eclectic lineup that will melt the hearts of even the ugliest of ugly Americans.
Why you should check it out: The six bands scheduled to play this year’s fest are relative unknowns, but if past concerts are any indication, one or two will prove to be breakout stars. Need proof? Just ask 2010 Global Union alums Debo Band, who headline their own show at the Pitman Theater Oct. 22.
Stephen Petronio Dance Company: Underland
(Nov. 5, Pitman Theater)
What is it? The Stephen Petronio Dance Company isn’t exactly a Swan Lake or Nutcracker kind of outfit. Instead, it draws from decidedly modern material like Lou Reed, Rufus Wainwright, and Fischerspooner. For its Underland performance, the group will use the music of none other than Nick Cave as its guide. Yes, the man who once fronted The Birthday Party is now being used as inspiration for modern interpretive dance.
Why you should check it out: Hot dancers? Awesome music? Seriously, if the words “classically trained dancers” and “Nick Cave” don’t pique your interest, we don’t know what will.
Sexy Results: Cedar Block’s Dig For The Higgs And How The Quest Was Won
(Feb. 18, 2012; Turner Hall Ballroom)
What is it? Over the past six years, the brains behind Milwaukee’s Cedar Block have cooked up everything from quirky exhibits at the Milwaukee Art Museum to adult science fairs that examined the connection between ESP and the Nintendo Power Pad. For Sexy Results, the group is presenting a variety show that incorporates the Higgs boson particle and the answer to Life, The Universe, And Everything. (Insert your own “42” joke here.)
Why you should check it out: If you attend, and the show manages to win a Nobel Prize for Physics, you’ll have bragging rights for the rest of your life.
Terminal Milwaukee: The Crawford/Ex Fabula Project
(April 28, 2012; Pitman Theater)
What is it? This show will be the culmination of a nearly yearlong storytelling series featuring die-hard Milwaukeean (and WMSE Station Manager) Tom Crawford reminiscing on the various neighborhoods in which he’s lived and worked. Expect a night of muscular storytelling that leaves the dweebs from The Moth in the dust.
Why you should check it out: Crawford practically bleeds Milwaukee, and is an engaging, riotous performer. And if a story well told isn’t enough, the night will also feature local bagpipers, accordion players, punk bands, and gospel singers. Milwaukee deserves nothing less.